Newsflash:
Rep. Barbara Lee Economic and Social Justice The Need for Jobs and Economic Equality
Sunday, 17 August 2014 17:00

The Need for Jobs and Economic Equality

Written by  Beverly Alves | Gray Panthers
The Need for Jobs and Economic Equality Google Images
Wealth and resources are not infinite; they are finite! Therefore, if some have too much, many others are left with little or nothing. It always amazes me when I hear commentators say our economy is improving, while unemployment and underemployment are on the rise. On July 3, the DOW hit an all time high; it topped 17,000 for the first time.

Yet the medium wage is down; it is down to the level it was in 1998, and the average income of the bottom 90% of workers is down $5,000, from $35,000 a year to $30,000 a year, adjusted for inflation. People are feeling pressured; they are being squeezed!

Although long term unemployment levels are down, sadly, many people are not able to find full time jobs. Some people are being forced to work two, or even three part time jobs, often out of their field, without benefits, in order to survive. So when economists say the economy is improving, whose economy are they talking about? Economic growth is eluding middle and lower class families. We need shared prosperity!

We need to invest in the future of America. Our deteriorating infrastructure is holding back our economy. Leading economists tell us that rebuilding our roads and bridges will create more jobs initially, and also make our economy more efficient. Rebuilding our infrastructure will improve profits for business, which then can create more permanent, long term, full time jobs.

We also need to provide equitable healthcare for all people in America; first because it’s the right thing to do, and also because many businesses are only hiring part time workers. Under current law, the responsibility placed on employers with more than fifty employees to provide health insurance is adding to this problem. In addition, many employers providing health insurance have increased the employee contribution for insurance and also the employee’s out of pocket costs for medical care, in order to cut their own expenses. This leaves workers with less money to spend, creating another hindrance to our economy.

The problem of student debt must also be addressed. Many young people are coming out of college with debt equivalent to a home mortgage; often they can’t find work in their field or work that would help them pay off their debt. Some spend the rest of their lives playing catch up. Some never catch up. It’s a new form of bondage; it is demoralizing!

We must support our public education system; it is the foundation of our society. In addition to providing greater support for our public schools, we need to ensure that those who decide to further their education either by going to college or technical school, have access to public institutions that will provide them with the education and training they need, at a reasonable cost, so they can fulfill their individual potential and become productive members of society.

Young people need to be encouraged to become educated in the fields for which they have a talent. Everyone does not have to go to college! We must respect and support all honest labor! My late husband Joe’s uncle, who was a noted scientist, once told us that although he lived in a very professional neighborhood, “The best house on the block belonged to the plumber/electrician.”

Employment is not just a way of earning a living, although that is essential. Employment gives us a purpose; it helps us build an identity. It gives us dignity. It is said that “All work is noble that is nobly done.” It is demoralizing not to be able to find a job. Unemployment eats at the core of the individual and breaks down our society as well. Statistics indicate that crime, domestic violence, substance abuse, all increase in society when there is long term unemployment. While we are building up our job banks, we need to extend unemployment benefits for those who are still unable to find jobs.

We also need to provide essential services, including food and housing security, access to medical care, mental health support, if necessary, and any other services that are necessary for the wellbeing of each individual and the betterment of our society, as a whole, instead of making cuts to these services, as we are currently doing. A house is only as strong as the foundation upon which it is built. The lack of money to finance necessary programs to uplift people is crippling and undermining our nation and its people. A vibrant society cannot endure while a large percent of its people are drowning; our solid foundation is starting to crumble.

It has been said that the “burden of sacrifice” must be shared by all. We need to think carefully about how this burden is shared. To someone earning minimum wage, every penny counts; they need it to merely survive. Many in the middle class are struggling to remain there. Between cuts in services and a regressive taxation system, so far it appears that only those in the middle, working and lower classes are shouldering this load.The “burden of sacrifice,” should not just be placed on those who are unable to afford the essential care and services they so desperately need. It should not be placed on those who are already burdened by life itself. That’s not fair! That’s not healthy! That's not democracy!

Does anyone really think that our great nation will continue to thrive and endure if those in need are denied essential services? Does anyone really think that our nation will be able to thrive and endure if those who must live from paycheck to paycheck, and/or on credit, incur debt which they no longer can repay? Does anyone really think that those who are extremely wealthy would be deprived if they paid their fair share?

According to research, “extreme wealth and extreme inequality are reaching unprecedented levels and will only get worse, unless we change course.” Cuts being made in services that are essential for the wellbeing of those in need, and essential for the wellbeing of our society, could be reduced significantly, by restructuring the tax code; the wealthy must pay their fair share.

After our Great Depression, President Roosevelt said, “The political equality we once had won was meaningless in the face of economic inequality.” Economic experts say these are some of the things we must do correct these problems. Provide free public services crucial to leveling the playing field.

-Create a progressive taxation system.

-Create regulation to rein in extreme wealth and inequality by:

Setting limits for bonuses.

Setting limits on interest rates.

Setting limits to how much people earn (as a multiple of the lowest earners).

Cracking down on tax avoidance and tax evasion.

No one wants to discourage imagination, creativity, initiative, perseverance and the many other admirable traits that are essential for success. But how much should someone be financially rewarded for having these traits? Is there no limit? How much wealth does one person need to have, to feel financially secure and successful? How much wealth is enough?

Thomas Jefferson said, "The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government.” We need to do what is in the best interests of all the people of America, not just what is in the best interests of the privileged few.

Perhaps by doing this, we might even be doing the wealthy a favor. Money, power and materialism cannot buy happiness. The secret to happiness is the way you treat others, and what you do to make yourself better and the world a better place. We must always remember; We’re all in this together!

Link to the original article from Gray Panthers.

Read 2556 times Last modified on Sunday, 17 August 2014 17:06

ERA Legislation in your State

Unratified states Gold - Ratified States Purple

Latest News from the Lee Campaign

Latest News from the Grayson Campaign

Latest News from the Schapira Campaign

  • Standard-Bearer in Pivotal Arizona Congressional Race
    Standard-Bearer in Pivotal Arizona Congressional Race

    With early ballots in the mail, and only three weeks from the August 28th primary, State Senator David Schapira has emerged as the Democratic standard-bearer in a closely watched and increasingly nasty three-way congressional race in Arizona that many observers see as a litmus test for national Democratic chances to pick up critical seats in Congress.

    Written on Thursday, 09 August 2012 01:45 Read more...
  • Harry Mitchell Endorses David Schapira for Congress
    Harry Mitchell Endorses David Schapira for Congress

    “The primary in Congressional District 9 has pitted three of the brightest members of the Democratic Party in Arizona against each other. All three candidates are leaders in our state and I am honored to call them friends.

    Written on Thursday, 26 July 2012 12:14 Read more...
  • A Guest Post From Arizona Progressive State Senator David Schapira
    A Guest Post From Arizona Progressive State Senator David Schapira

    Endorsements are a funny thing. Most of them aren't worth anything at all. I have two friends running in the Democratic primary in Arizona's brand new 9th CD, Kyrsten Sinema and Andrei Cherny. Kyrsten is a progressive and Andrei is somewhere in his own world ideologically. But the third guy... well, he's the one who's been endorsed by Raúl-- and by PDA. Whomever wins the August 28th primary is, likelier than not, headed to Congress. That third guy is David Schapira, the Senate Democratic Leader.

    Written on Saturday, 30 June 2012 13:38 Read more...
  • David Schapira Receives PDA Endorsement
    David Schapira Receives PDA Endorsement

    On the May Inside the Party call, David Schapira (AZ-9) received the PDA National endorsement. Currently David Schapira is the Arizona State Senate Democratic Leader.

    Written on Thursday, 24 May 2012 00:00 Read more...
  • Arizona Communications Workers of America State Council Endorses David Schapira for Congress
    Arizona Communications Workers of America State Council Endorses David Schapira for Congress

    The Arizona Communications Workers of America (CWA) State Council announced today their endorsement of Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira, D-Tempe, in the race for Arizona’s Ninth Congressional District. The state council is comprised of the Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association (AZCPOA), the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA and multiple CWA local affiliates.

    Written on Thursday, 17 May 2012 19:55 Read more...
  • Congressman Raúl Grijalva Endorses David Schapira
    Congressman Raúl Grijalva Endorses David Schapira

    Congressman Raúl Grijalva, AZ-07, today announced his endorsement of Arizona Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira, D-Tempe, in his campaign for Arizona’s Ninth Congressional District. “Voters are looking for candidates who stand up for what they believe in and can win, not by hiding their values, but by sharing them with voters. David is that candidate,” said Rep. Grijalva.

    Written on Monday, 30 April 2012 00:00 Read more...
  • Arizona Union Rights Stripped

    Arizona Governor Jan Brewer pushes the country's most anti-union agenda yet. David Shapira, Democratic leader of the Arizona state senate, slams his Republican colleagues. Welcome back to "The Ed Show." Jan Brewer and the Arizona Republicans are on a tear. they are on the offensive. they are on a mission to completely destroy public employee unions. have you heard the story before?

    Written on Thursday, 02 February 2012 00:00 Read more...
  • State Senator David Schapira Jumps Into District 9 Congressional Race
    State Senator David Schapira Jumps Into District 9 Congressional Race

    As predicted, former state Senator Kyrsten Sinema's not the only Democrat with her eye on Arizona's new Congressional seat -- this morning, state Senate Minority Leader David Schapira announced that he, too, will run in Arizona's newly formed 9th Congressional district.

    Written on Tuesday, 17 January 2012 00:00 Read more...

Sign the ERA Petition

ERADemandButton

On Friday, September 12th more than 150 activists will go to DC and Demand that their Senators and Representatives support removing the ratification deadline from the ERA (SJ Res 15 and HJ Res 113)

Button-SignERAPetition

Sign the Petition - Sen. Sanders Run as a Democrat in 2016

Button-SandersPetition

Like Rep. Barbara Lee

Lori Wallach on the TPP from PDA Progressive Roundtable

Progressive Roundtable with Reps. Ellison and Pocan and Lori Wallach on TPP

TPP: The Biggest Threat to the Internet You've Probably Never Heard Of